Barcamp Blackpool 3


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Another weekend, another barcamp… But blackpool is a little different to the other ‘camps held around the country. Whether it’s the epicness of running the event at the Blackpool Pleasure Beach Casino (I kid ye not), or that we have a near infinite supply of rock, Blackpool always manages to blend the geek with the surreal.

Three to four years ago, when I first started to attend Barcamps, talks were always based on computing technical topics. Ruby on Rails, iOS and Android were the new kids on the block, and Barcamps were seen as a way of getting people involved (or at least introduced) to those platforms. As the years have gone on, the amount of computing-technical content has gone down, and we’ve seen sessions run on knitting, hama-badge making and British Sign Language. Always interesting, but I had started to wonder whether we were losing focus on things to do at Barcamps.

This year, I was pleased to see a range of talks run over a number of tracks, some technical, some less, some nostalgic. I think the most popular, and certainly the most well received talk was “A Brief History of Error Messages”, including live demonstrations of Spectrum loading[1] and a real Windows ME machine. Well stitched together, there’s a potential stand-up routine here to rival Dave Gorman’s Powerpoint Presentation.

For my sins, I ran <a href=”“http://lanyrd.com/2011/bcblackpool3/skhqr/#link-fqrk>“Introduction to Teaching”</a> – an explanation of the IDEA methodology with some practical work involving games, and “Propositional Logic for Beginners”, which caused much comment about attendees’ preference for sausage.

Barcamps come with after-parties, and Blackpool’s have become the stuff of legends. A little more keyed down than in previous years, after the buffet (otherwise known as the meat-fest), some Rock Band was played and a few, rather large games of Werewolf. The person who managed to sing Free Bird really deserves an award. The people at the bar thought we were listening to the recorded track…

As always, Barcamps can’t happen without the support of sponsors. This year’s Barcamp was sponsored (in no particular order) by: Testled, The H, Indigo, Magma Digital, FTP Concepts, JMC Website Design, Magic Missile (also winner of the dodgy logo award), Sugru, Tweetdig, Neterix, Mediaburst, FY Creatives, Our Learning and the Brookson Enterprise Freelance Fair.

Money is one thing, but actually having the stuff to put the event together takes even more, so a big shout-out goes to RubyGem and BigLesP for throwing away their sanity, and possibly their dignity to make it happen.

[1] – there is genuinely something wrong when you hear the tones in the next room and think “that’s the header loading…”.